Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Rare Sunday Post

I don't normally post on Sundays. Or much of the weekend for that matter. Why you ask? Well, for one thing because I find that most of the bloggers out there seem to take a break on the weekends. Therefore, if I post something on Saturday or Sunday and then something on Monday, nobody reads what I posted on Saturday or Sunday. And although I know I should be posting for ME and not anybody else, I love my visitors and I love having comments. The anal retentiveness in me hates to have a post that doesn't get a chance to get any comments.

I wanted to alude to my Friday post about my SMELLY FART/BAD ATTITUDE. I guess it really wasn't that bad, but the expression of my attitude stinking and emitting an odor was just too funny not to post. I got a laugh out of it anyway.

Work is stressing me out lately a bit. Details really aren't that necessary, and really things aren't that bad. Just more annoying than anything. One of those situations where there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. Lots of bosses and therefore you don't know who to go to to get something nailed down. Things don't really GET nailed down...and everything seems to change at the last minute. Really, again, it is MY attitude. I just need to get it back in order. I need to be (and I AM) thankful to even HAVE a job......The rush is on right now though because right after Labor Day, I'll be traveling to the Washington DC area for our yearly meetings with a bunch of our committee members. This is where we hash out details about next year's conference. It is very labor intensive and for me, very stressful. I'll be glad when this trip is OVER.

That leads me to something else that is totally stressing me out right now: Money.

Brandon is 13 1/2. Within just a year, he will need braces. Within a couple years after that, a car. And then (drumroll please) COLLEGE. And oh my gosh, how am I ever going to pay for that? I really have been thinking so much about all this lately and to be honest, it truly depresses me. I try not to worry about it so much but my faith is being really tested. I just don't see how I can meet the rising costs of the future.

Brandon's school is awesome. I would love for him to continue to go there. However, it is costing me an arm and a leg. And frankly, I'm being nickled and dimed to death when it comes to school stuff. I guess that is to be expected. But, everything I turn around, there is another fee, another cost, another check I have to write.

School just started last week and in addition to all the school supplies, the new uniforms, the tennis shoes, all that stuff that goes along with going back to school...there is a fee for his soccer uniform - about $25.00, a fee of $85.00!!! that the school charges for his participation in this sport (and they will charge $85.00 for EACH sport your child participates in so that in the fall, I'll owe ANOTHER $85.00 for basketball and then in the spring, an additional $85.00 for track!) School lunches are $4.00 a day! He needs another pair of tennis shoes for gym....a $15.00 portfolio for art, a new sketchbook (these are in addition to the supplies I already bought him) oh and to top it off, he needs a graphing calculator! So, yesterday we were off to my favorite places - Walmart - to purchase an almost $100.00 CALCULATOR !!! I'm sorry, but I didn't even know what a graphing calculator was! Brandon is taking Alegebra I and beginning Physics this year (yes, in 8th grade!) and he said the calculator will be used this year and he can use it all through high school. I figured I would get it for him since even though it is not REQUIRED this year, it is needed. The money flow should slow down, I hope, but I am just so frustrated right now.

In fact, today I'm starting a journal of sorts. Tracking. I'm going to keep a notebook of every. single. penny. I. spend. every one. I figure if I want to keep more of my money, I need to see where it is all going. Then, after tracking all my expenses for a couple of months, I can more readily see where the big holes are and where my money is going.

My health insurance is also causing me great stress right now. Can I just say that BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD sucks the big one. They are horrible. I am paying a lot of money (several hundred dollars) a month for healthcare just to cover me. And this is healthcare that EXCLUDES more than it INCLUDES.

I pay more in premiums so that I can go to the doctor and just pay a co-pay for routine stuff. That way, I'm not hit with unexpected trips to the doctor. Mostly, it should just cost me the $25.00 for the office visit and then the px cost. I pay through the nose for prescriptions too because Blue Cross and Blue Shield excludes so many medications. Also, I pay more because of my history of migraines and because of the cost of my migraine medication. Basically, the pills I take for it cost me around $20.00 EACH pill. And this is WITH insurance. Lovely.

I've been really frustrated with BCBS for a while and need to look at other options I guess. The problem is, I know other insurance companies probably aren't much better. Everyone out there has to deal with these issues, I know. I'm not alone and my situation is certainly much better than many people. So in a way I feel bad for complaining at all. What would be really great is if I worked for a big company that provided health insurance for me - a company that could afford to have large group coverage that I didn't have to pay out the nose for. But, where i live, that ain't gonna happen. I would have to relocate to another city to get a job like that.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. My latest complaint with my insurance is they still hadn't paid an invoice from my primary care physician from September of 2007! I finally called them about it because my doctor's office is billing ME for it. I paid my $25.00 co-pay so I shouldn't owe any more, if it worked like it should.

Well, my insurance company (the "wonderful" Blue Cross and Blue Shield) is saying that they applied the full amount of the visit to my deductible. Why? Because BCBS says my doctor's office coded the visit as a "surgical procedure". I exlained it WASN'T a surgical procedure. Ya know what it was? I had EAR WAX REMOVED from my ear. um, it wasNOT a surgical procedure. BCBS says their hands are tied - the way it is coded, they have to charge it to my deductible. They suggest I call my doctor's office and get them to recode it.

I call my doctor's office and after talking to them, they said they would have someone else call me back and see what they could do. Another lady calls me back and the short version is they can't recode it. That code is what they have to call it. The lady at my doctor's office said she totally understands it is NOT a surgical procedure, but that is how they have to code it. Ear Wax removal - coded as a surgical procedure. She said that this is a grey area and my insurance company knows it. (and I am sure she is right) - that they have the ability to look at the charge and see it was for ear wax removal and pay it like they should - as an office visit.

So, here I am STUCK in the middle. The consumer. It really, really, really pisses me off. I really blame BCBS rather than my doctor. I believe BCBS could rule the other way and process my claim like they should. And the money here, well it really isn't that much - only about $25.00 after I looked at it - the difference betwen what I would owe if they charged it correctly and the way they did charge it...but it is just the principal of the matter!!!

I guess was just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back for me on Friday - this little deal was just the symbol of the frustration I feel in dealing with my insurance company and the cost I'm paying for health care - shoddy health care coverage I might add. And sometimes it is enough to drive me to tears. Like Friday.

But anyway, today is another day and I'm OK. I have decided not to try to fight it any further because it is only about $20.00 I'm fighting over and my time is worth much more than $20.00. I could appeal it, but I don't think it would do any good and it would cause me further for now, I'm letting it lie.

But, doesn't that suck?

Have a great Sunday. I'm off to have lunch with my ex-brother in law and his son who are in town for lunch.


Me said...

I totally understand your frustrations... you pay all that money to be covered and the whole time they are trying to screw you for every cent they can.

Trace :)

Robyn said...

I wish I had a solution, but the only one I can come up with is for you to come over here! :) I don't understand your health system AT ALL, but it seems AWFUL, and Bec's school is private and more expensive than the state schools, but that is ridiculous.
I know that we find it helpful to record what we're spending...sometimes its surprising how much the little things add up. Hope you find something that helps.

Cindy said...


Hang in there! Roy's insurance stinks too, mine is not so bad, buy HD is changing after the first of the year and I am scared NOONE will take it!

I understand fees-Josh has to suppy all sorts of things for daycare each MONTH and Camrie just started school again- hers wasn't too bad. I totally understand them wanting money every time you turn around.

Ayden is pretty well set-but I spend entirely too much on clothes for him-but it is too much fun-he!he!

Take care,


p.s. wanted to make sure I left a comment since you went to the trouble to post!!

Meliss said...

I hate BCBS. When we had that insurance, I spent so much time on the phone arguing with them and telling them what THEIR rules were and keeping records of what they said and asking to speak to the manager. Now we have Great West and I'm no longer wrangling over insurance.

For what this is worth... I didn't own a car until my last semester of college when I needed to drive for student teaching. (It was a used Renault.) I didn't even have the use of my parent's car in college and for part of it, I was across the country from them. When I needed to get home, I rode with others and paid for gas, etc.

James has the strong opinion that his kids will not own a car in high school, and I agree with him. He saw too many of his peers get a car and lose focus on priorities in life... some of them with some serious, long-term consequences.

I'm not trying to say that that is what you should do, but just putting my thoughts here since the thought of paying for a car for Brandon in high school is stressing you out.



lampworkgirl said...

I am with you with the money stress. Zack is trying for scholarships now. Jim and I have been following Dave Ramsey's money advice. He makes sense. I am going back to subbing this fall to help pay off the cars and then put aside for college next year.